by Joel Tianello February 17, 2012 Part 1 (on to 2,3,4)

Every night in America, thousands of stand-ups perform at comedy showcases in smaller venues.
In New York or L.A., it could be for steady income or to get "discovered."
In Kent, Ohio, aspiring comics do it to hone their skills, get the biggest laugh and shove it in other comics' faces.
This is a week in the life of one such comedian, Anthony Savatt.

Monday
It's a mild February night in Kent.
Anthony Savatt walks around the intimately-lit Stone Tavern, on East Main Street, coordinating his line-up of comics for the night.
He'll perform several times this week, but Mondays are special.
Savatt not only hosts "Live Comedy at the Stone Tavern," but also organized the Monday night showcase with the bar's previous owner over a year ago.
"Comedy has always been part of our identity as a venue," says Louis DelBene, current owner of the Stone Tavern.
Two dozen people have arrived by eight o'clock, including the comics.
The night often attracts twice as many.
"We'll build up momentum for a few weeks, then have a shit night," Savatt says. "Guess we're due."
He expected tonight's attendance to be weak less than 24 hours after the Super Bowl.
"Let's get going," the six-foot-two bearded comic says as he takes the stage. "Be sure to try my girlfriend's taco dip. It's delicious."
Savatt gestures toward chips and a casorole dish in the middle of the room.
He skips the year's biggest football game to start with something most comedians would avoid- a local death.
"I want to take a minute to remember Bob Wood."
If you asked some Kent residents who Robert Wood was, they would stare blankly at you.
If you asked if they knew who "Fuck You Bob" was, however, they would likely beam with recognition.
In Wood's passing, most would remember him for his unkempt beard and symptoms of mental illness, like the automatic "birdies" that would flip up from any hand not holding a mug or paintbrush.
Savatt makes sure they also remember Wood's two degrees, charitable deeds and all the art he made while standing in local bars and coffee shops.
Then he brings it back to the lighter side.
"It also means means there's an opening in Kent for an old bearded guy to jump out and scare freshman girls," Savatt says before sipping his beer.
"So I've got a future."

Tuesday
Savatt hustles toward the Funny Stop, a comedy club in the back of a Cuyahoga Falls' stripmall.
The showcase started at eight o'clock.
It's now 8:15.
He's running late after doing a friend's parents' taxes.
Savatt received a Bachelors and Masters in Accounting from Kent State University, and is now a freelance accountant.
He'd misjudged how long the joint-tax filing would take him.
If the paperwork had been sitting on his kitchen table, the job would have taken 10 to 15 minutes.
Dealing with the babyboomers directly, however, took closer to an hour.
Savatt parks and runs into the building.
"Don't even ask," says Pete Barak, the club's owner and booker.
With 50-or-so people in the audience, the club is half-full.
Savatt nods and starts to turn away.
Barak softens and says, "come back Thursday and we'll get you on."
Savatt grabs a beer in the side bar and watches some of his peers.
"Thursday works," Savatt says.
"I wanted to see the headliner, anyway," he says, refering to touring comedian Dan O'Sullivan.
Barak yells something unintelligible from the back of the bar.
"This is the only club in the country where the booker heckles the open-mic-ers," Savatt says.

 

 

           

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